A federal judge ruled to extend the U.S. government's antitrust oversight of Microsoft for two more years, shy of the five-year extension sought by states accusing the company of continuing monopolistic behavior.
In a filed order, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly extended oversight Tuesday, citing the extreme and unforeseen delay in the availability of complete, accurate and useable technical documentation... Microsoft is required to make available.
As such, the court shall extend until November 12, 2009 those provisions of the final judgments that have not yet been extended, Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
While originally slated to expire in November, a group of states including California and New York have been pushing the court to extend the decree to 2012, arguing that Microsoft still unfairly dominates the PC software market.
Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her opinion that the extension should not be seen as a sanction against Microsoft, but she said the delays in documentation meant the objectives of the settlement had not been fully achieved.
She also left open the possibility that the decree could be extended in the future and said there are mechanisms in place to reexamine the decree in the fall of 2009.
We will continue to comply fully with the consent decree, Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said in a statement. We built Windows Vista in compliance with these rules, and we will continue to adhere to the decree's requirements.
The extension of Microsoft's oversight comes two weeks after European regulators announced new antitrust probes of the software giant.
Earlier this month, the European Commission said it will investigate claims from Microsoft's rivals that the company hasn't shared interoperability information for products including its dominant Office software suite, and unfairly bundles its Internet-browsing software with the Windows operating system.